A flight lieutenant was caught stealing a wallet from a CSD canteen in Mumbai on CCTV cameras and has been court-martialed by the Indian Air Force for the petty theft worth Rs 531 (£6.54).
The incident had happened when the officer (name withheld) – who gets a salary of around Rs 65,000-70,000 (£800) per month – visited the CSD canteen in the Madh Island air force base in Mumbai in February 2013 to buy something and stole one of the two black wallets kept there, an IAF officer told Mail Today.
The theft of the wallet could not be detected by the canteen officers for two days and an investigation into the matter had started when one of the wallet covers was found lying empty, they said.
An officer said: ‘When the CCTV footage was checked, it was observed that the officer of the rank of Flt Lt had picked up the wallet and put it in his rear trouser pocket for concealing it from canteen staff, and after that, he was attached for trial by the authorities concerned.’
The General Court Martial also found him guilty and recommended him to be severely reprimanded, pay back Rs 531 as the cost of the wallet stolen by him to the unit and also forfeit one-year service for the purpose of promotion.
However, the then Air Force chief took a lenient view of the case and removed the loss of seniority from his punishment but the officer decided to approach the Armed Forces Tribunal to get the proceedings against him to be quashed completely.
In the tribunal, the judges watched the CCTV footage before deciding the case.
The bench headed by AFT chairman Justice Virender Singh found him not only indulging in theft but also trying to conceal his act.
It said it supported the decision taken by the IAF whose chief had already applied his mind in the case and given relief to the officer.